FINANCE

Children’s Place sales, profits up in Q3

BY Staff Writer

Secaucus, N.J. — The Children’s Place Retail Stores reported Thursday that net income increased to $33.7 million for the quarter ended Oct. 29, up from $31.2 million a year earlier.

Sales rose 7% to $484.1 million from $453.4 million. Same-store sales edged up 0.9%.

President and CEO Jane Elfers said the improved profit and sales picture was attributable to a combination of enhanced merchandise offerings, a honed focus on inventory management and “momentum from our other strategic growth initiatives which enabled us to drive sales and expand margin despite significantly higher product costs and a difficult macroeconomic environment," said Elfers.

During the third quarter, The Children’s Place opened 18 stores and closed two. Fiscal year-to-date 2011, the company has opened 88 stores and closed seven.

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FINANCE

Stein Mart swings to loss in Q3

BY Staff Writer

Jacksonville, Fla. — Stein Mart Inc. reported Thursday that it moved to a loss in the quarter ended Oct. 29, recording a loss of $1.8 million compared with a profit of $4.3 million a year earlier.

Gross profit margin fell to 23.8% from 25.4%, due mainly to increased markdowns and higher buying costs.

Revenue dropped 4% to $258.5 million from $267.9 million, a consistent trend since 2007. Same-store sales fell 2.9%.

"Promotions will continue to be an important driver of customer foot traffic, but we need to get back to being an every day value merchandise focused retailer," interim CEO Jay Stein said in a statement.

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Report: Black Friday performance not barometer for season

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Solihull, England — Visitor analytics provider Experian FootFall said Thursday that Black Friday’s retail performance isn’t necessarily an indication of how the holiday season will fare.

According to FootFall, the 2011 calendar shift could impact consumer behavior this season, potentially transferring the large majority of shopping trips and consumer spending to later in the season. Because Christmas falls on a Sunday, historical performance suggests the week leading up to the holiday will be crucial for retailers, containing several of the top spending days this holiday shopping season.

“The 2011 calendar shift will most likely place added emphasis on the days leading into Christmas as procrastinating shoppers could spend heavily on the Thursday and Friday leading into Christmas weekend,” said Gary Whittemore, global development director of Experian FootFall. “Although Black Friday is still very important and will once again be one of the top performing days, in reality many retailers will have the opportunity to recover from a slower start by reviewing historical performance and effectively preparing stores to capitalize on this late season rush.”

The company predicts that three of the top performing days of the holiday shopping season could fall in the seven day period from Dec. 17 – 24, including Dec. 17 (Saturday), Dec. 22 (Thursday) and Dec. 23 (Friday).

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